Cronk to leave Melbourne for love
Melbourne Storm halfback Cooper Cronk announced on Tuesday morning his intention to leave the club at the end of the year.
After 14 years playing in Melbourne Cronk made the personal decision to move to Sydney to be with fiancée and Fox Sports presenter, Tara Rushton.
While it ends Cronk's esteemed career with the Storm, he admitted it was hard enough making this decision let alone deciding whether he will play on next year.
"If it was a football decision I'd be staying here for a long time but for me to finish up this year at Melbourne is a personal decision," Cronk said. "There's a few things in life more important then football, like family, getting married and a future.
"I've been pretty selfish in my approach to my football career, and I think it's time to put something else and someone else first.
"In terms of what happens next, [to be] completely honest, I don't know."
There's been plenty of speculation about Cronk's playing future after he became engaged to Rushton over the off-season. He revealed the experience of the long-distance relationship took a personal toll.
"You need a balance outside of [playing] and I don’t have that here in Melbourne," Cronk said. "I get on a plane every spare minute to go to Sydney and it's getting harder to get back on that plane to come back.
"I've been wrestling with this decision over about whether or not to play on or not at Melbourne. Up until this point, it's all I've been thinking about.
"In the best interests of the football club, I think this is the best decision and the right time."
While it is an exciting time for Cronk – and a significantly relieving moment too for the loving couple – the Storm legend was emotional about leaving his beloved club.
"I've got the greatest memories anyone could have," Cronk said. "I'm one of the luckiest people to have ever played.
"Sometimes there's more to life than football. I'm jealous of the guys with their families here that have their loved ones and football in the same city. It's time for me to prioritise my time and future."